Sunday, November 15, 2009

Improv Goals

Goal 1
I continue to strive to GET OUT OF MY HEAD!!! Most of the time, I do fine, but anytime the scene gets 'derailed' or stopped by coach, I shoot back up into my head so fast. I find that when I am out of my head, I can sort of observe the scene from within without thinking about it. So my ULTIMATE goal is to be able to get back out of my head if I get thrown there.
Goal 2
I am having the hardest time finding a happy character that I can sustain. For some reason keeping that high energy character with a positive attitude going is 'into my head' inducing. I don't have this issue with positive children or anyone intense, depressed, or creepy. So my goal is to develop a sustainable energetic happy character.
Goal 3
So, I was thinking about class on Monday. My physicality was ON! I made choices to do things with my body, and I stuck with it. I had the scene where I was a child sitting alone on the floor eating fiberglass until I choked on it, and I had the two scenes where I was writhing onstage. Man that is So fun! Those were my favorite scenes. You never know what will happen. I am going to try to continue to do physical things. I think that it just MIGHT help my 'in my head' problem. Maybe I need to brainstorm ideas about different ways to move and postures to take. Also, finding different things to do with my hands/legs.

So to Recap- Improv Goals:
1. Get back out of my head once I am in there.
2. Develop a sustainable energetic happy character.
3. Develop more ideas about physical position and physicality onstage.

*Note I wrote these goals before the shows this weekend. I performed a happy, energetic character for an entire long form this weekend. She was a little evil... but hey, baby steps. :D

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Listeining Journal 2 Response

In his entry on the Hilliard Ensemble's Motets et Chansons, Vince did a fine job. Especially notable is how he begins by listing all of Josquin's acclaimed compositions. At the end of the first paragraph, Vince wrote, “ During Josquin’s lifetime, his compositions were known internationally and were considered musical perfections, even by Martin Luther, who hailed Josquin as “…master of notes.” This is a good quote and would have been more powerful at the beginning of the entire paper.

Josquin was a master of writing music, not only the motet and chanson, but the frottola. Vince mentions “El Grillo,” but he did not mention the other two frottola on the recording, “Scaramella va alla Guerra” and “In te Domine speravi.” Both are similar in style to “El Grillo;” they all are homophonic and mostly syllabic with bits of polyphony to help word paint or drive to the cadences. I was a little disappointed that Vince did not write about the double entendre that can be found in “El Grillo” as the song is about a singer that Josquin knew who could hold a note for quite a long time. He depicts this in both the words about how a ‘cricket’ can hold the notes for a long time, but also through his word painting. I enjoy Josquin’s frottola more than his motets or chansons on this recording. They are just so lighthearted and fun, it would be hard to not love them.

I agree completely with Vince that, “Josquin artfully blends his techniques so his music does not sound technical, but captures the listener through beautiful colors and varied textures.” Josquin’s amazing textures are built from some amazing imitation and polyphony woven together with word painting. I think that word painting is a completely different art form and that Josquin was one of the first composers to master it.

Vince said that he has not listened to much vocal music, a statement that saddens me as vocal music is my favorite type of music. The human voice is so versatile, and Josquin does a expert job of showing it off. I am glad that Josquin has had a positive impact on Vince, and that he now knows how awesome the voice can be. Great paper, Vince!

Listening Journal 2

Not just a musician, Carlo Gesualdo (pictured) was a nobleman as well as a murderer. He married his cousin when he was in his early twenties, and that ‘love match’ only lasted two years before his wife began having an affair. She managed to keep it secret for two years, but Gesualdo soon began to suspect the truth. He set a trap where he pretended to leave only to return unannounced, find his wife and her lover in his bed, and promptly murder them in a wave of insanity. There were surprisingly little repercussions from this terrible crime, although Gesualdo did hide in the country for a short of time due to unhappy relatives. He entered into another unhappy marriage four years later, and his new wife spent most of the time on her brother’s estate.(Bianconi) Gesualdo, in short, had an extremely rough home life for his entire career, and it is reflected in his music, which is moody and perhaps even bi-polar.

I listened to the CD, Gesualdo: Fifth book of madrigals, and all the pieces reflect the tension and conflict that he felt. Since Gesualdo was an enigma of contrasts, I will highlight two of his works from this CD: "Languisce al fin," an extremely sad piece, and "Correte, amanti, a prova," a more upbeat one. Gesualdo is a master of using dissonance and chromatisicm in his music, and it is clear that he writes music to reflect the inner turmoil that he lives with.

"Languisce al fin" speaks of languishing toward the end of life, and suffering. This piece is typical of Gesualdo in that it is highly chromatic and uses lamenting to help emphasize the drama that he is feeling and wanting to convey. He uses imitative elements to help text paint, and he uses a beautiful exploration of space to help him in his efforts. The chromaticism used is revolutionary, and not seen again in such abundance until tonalities are set.

"Correte, amanti, a prova" is extremely upbeat for Gesualdo. The tempo is faster and the subject of love and beauty far more lighthearted. Gesualdo uses text painting to the extreme in this piece. The tempo is moving right along until we get to the words, "Vista dolce et acerba in cui si trova," which means, "sight both sweet and bitter which has such might." When he gets to that piece of text, Gesulado slows down to emphasize the sweet and bitter feel that the words suggest. When the text gets to ‘as it may befall’, Gesualdo uses a series of falling vocal lines. It is very interesting to me what Gesualdo decides to do with his text painting. Despite this piece being more upbeat, there is still an underlying melancholy that seems to be in all of Gesualdo’s music. It is as though he can never escape from the world that he lives in entirely.

Gesualdo suffered from depression toward the end of his life most likely caused by the guilt from the double murder.(Watkins) Gesualdo was an incredibly religious man and had himself beaten for penance daily. His life was tortured and dramatic and I think that that comes through in his music. His use of dissonance and chromaticism was unmatched for decades and I don’t think that any musician has reached his level of crazy. He was buried in the chapel of Saint Ignatius. (Pictured) File:Gesnuovo.JPG


Bianconi, Lorenzo. "Gesualdo, Carlo, Prince of Venosa, Count of Conza." Grove Music Online. Oxford Music Online, (accessed November 3, 2009).

Stevens, Denis. “Carlo Gesualdo.” The Musical Times, vol 131, no. 1770 (Aug., 1990): 410-411, Musical Times Publications Ltd.

Watkins, Glenn. Gesualdo: The Man and His Music. Clarendon Press. Oxford, 1991.